Description: Professor Michael Anesko will give a paper on his recent research into Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. The presentation will be followed by a brief question and answer session, and light refreshments will be served. This event is part of the Modernist Studies Workshop coffee talk series and is open to all. Please join us!
The Torments of Spring: Jake Barnes’s Phantom Limb in “The Sun Also Rises”
While critics recently have found The Sun Also Rises a fruitful text for reexamining issues of gender and sexuality in Hemingway’s work, a significant aspect of Jake Barnes’s genital wounding has been overlooked. At least from the time of the American Civil War, a diverse body of medical literature has documented the psychosomatic reality of phantom genitalia in traumatically injured men. Revisiting the novel from this perspective—imagining that Jake Barnes is haunted by a penile ghost—allows us to see this character as something more than a victim of disability. Instead, we might think of Jake’s material self as figuratively masculine but accidentally transgendered: a body that others can desire and that still can choose, or not, to reciprocate sexual feeling.